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Planning, researching and writing your dissertation

A dissertation is a long, formalised form of essay, in which you generate a topic or enquiry, plan and execute a project that investigates it, and write-up what you did and what you found.

It may be the most substantial assignment you undertake at university, the one which potential employers may ask you about, or academics in your field may look-up and read. You want it to be good. Or, rather, you want it to be great!

The Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) has produced guidance on ‘Dissertations’, ‘Literature Reviews’, ‘Researching your dissertation’ and ‘Writing up your dissertation’ that will help you produce an excellent piece of work.

For now, here are three tips that may help you:

Be inspired: Choose a research topic that really interests you and adds in some way to the knowledge in your field of study. Dissertations take time and commitment to complete, so you will need to stay engaged.

Be organised: Organise your work and your time. Identify the stages of work required to complete your dissertation, calculate how long each stage will take, and plot them on to a calendar.

Be discerning: The research methods you choose, and the sources of information you use, should all be of the highest quality. A dissertation, like a cake, can only be as good as its ingredients.

SLAS can offer guidance on these and many other aspects of your dissertation – just book an appointment with one of our advisers.